Circularity and Consistency

Additional Resource: Answering Objections to Presup by Eli Ayala

This quick video from the Reformed Wiki is helpful. The fallacy of circular reasoning is always raised by the critics of presuppositionalism as one of their bases for rejecting it. But is circular reasoning always fallacious and wrong? We answer with a resounding “No”. Circular reasoning is inevitable if you are arguing for the absolute truth and ultimate standard. The Presuppositional method is transcendentally circular not a flat, same-plane, vicious, and begging-the-question circularity. As Greg Bahnsen puts it circularity is just another name for ‘consistency’. It is coherent.

I found this script from Daniel Akande’s Pushing the Antithesis:

“How do you know the Bible is true?”
The Bible says so.
“But that’s circular!” 
Yes, *epistemic* circularity. The Bible, because it’s God’s Word, is self-authenticating. It literally justifies itself. 
“But anybody can claim that for anything or any religion!” 
We have more than a mere claim to self-authenticating authority. We also have the transcendental necessity* of our authority which other authority claims do not have.

The Bible must be the word of God not only because it says it is, but also because a rejection of its claim reduces anyone to absurdity.

How would someone do that without question-begging/circular reasoning? What allows the laws of logic to be true consistently? It only works if taken from the nature and character of the transcendent Creator-God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2, etc).

Any circular reasoning is not always wrong. Some things are self-attesting. One must use logic to argue logic. The same must be said for math, aesthetics, science, the existence of language, metaphysics, ethics, and especially God cannot be argued without appealing to themselves in circularity. In fact, most presuppose these items when arguing for them. Logic is self-attesting. It is a virtuous circle that appeals to a self-attesting authority and exits the vicious circle that one knows to be fallacious….and to know this is right appeals to Ultimate Authority.

“To admit one’s own presuppositions and to point out the presuppositions of others is therefore to maintain that all reasoning is, in the nature of the case, circular reasoning. The starting-point, the method, and the conclusion are always involved in one another.” ~ Cornelius Van Til, Apologetics

Here is from Revelational Epistemology posted by Ricky Roldan on a Facebook group.

Epistemically speaking, all logical reasoning is unavoidably circular. A spiral circle is a self-attesting, self authenticating ultimate authority and this is what the Christian worldview has in God and his revelation. It is how we know what we know. The key to knowledge and wisdom is Jesus Christ. Revelational Epistemology is a glorious and virtuous spiral circle. Unbelieving and non-revelational worldviews and those who hold to them are arbitrary and epistemically reason in a fallacious and vicious circle since they cannot be their own authority as man is fallible and not omniscient. 
This fact results in depending on their own reasoning to reason that their reasoning process is working properly and to use their own senses to sense that their senses are working properly. They depend on the laws of logic to confirm the laws of logic. This is undoubtedly viciously circular and begs the question in an infinite regress. In the final analysis, the unbelieving and non-revelational worldviews, whatever that may be, reduce to the absurdity of pure skepticism.

All truths are grounded in God— this is the position that makes sense of the laws of logic.

Listen to Richard Pratt,

Both Christians and non-Christians are involved in circularities; they are impossible to avoid when considering our most basic conviction. Yet, an important difference must be seen between them. Non-christian circularity consists of the attempt to justify the groundless assumption of independence by independent thought and results from the sinner’s inability to do otherwise apart from faith in Christ. Christian circularity, however consists of the recognition that nothing is more ultimate than the authority of God and His Word. The former is the evidence of futile thought struggling to support itself. The latter is the proof of enlightened minds returning to the only One without need of further support, God the Creator of all. Despite the similiarties, these differences form a great chasm between the two views of the world which is crossed only by one touched by the regenerating grace of God.

R. Pratt, Every Thought Captive. Kindle loc. 829-838

To God be the glory!

*“Transcendental necessity” in the sense that the Bible as God’s Word is necessary for intelligible and coherent human experience. All rational thoughts presupposes the truth and authority of the Bible, and this makes it inescapably irrational to doubt the veracity of Scripture. This is what sets the Bible apart from other claims to authority. ~ Pushing the Antithesis

*In our class with Tony Costa on logic, he said that circular arguments are not always wrong and there are circular arguments that are true by necessity only when the premise is true.

*During our class, a question about the Qur’an was raised. Here are some of my notes from Dr. Tony: The Quran cannot appeal to the exemption of circular arguments because it cannot claim that their god is true and they are internally problematic. The Quran is the highest appeal for Muslims. But at the end of the day, if Quran came from God, and it clashes with the Bible, it cannot be true. There are competing authorities and only one can be true. The Muslim’s claim for Qur’an is untenable. Truth must be consistent. Qur’an is not.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

8 thoughts on “Circularity and Consistency

    1. Thanks brother. Please, I am still trying to get my head on learning presuppositionalism, I am open to feedback to improve my thoughts and articulation of it. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I need to sharpen myself on this more this year; later in the year I will be doing a series with my church on presuppositional apologetics and I hope to do deeper studies with it too for this time around teaching it

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: